The Aerial Regional-Scale Environmental Survey (ARES) is a Mars exploration mission concept with the goal of taking scientific measurements of the atmosphere, surface, and subsurface of Mars by using an airplane as the payload platform. ARES team first conducted a Phase-A study for a 2007 launch opportunity, which was completed in May 2003. Following this study, significant efforts were undertaken to reduce the risk of the atmospheric flight system, under the NASA Langley Planetary Airplane Risk Reduction Project. The concept was then proposed to the Mars Scout program in 2006 for a 2011 launch opportunity. This paper summarizes the design and development of the ARES airplane propulsion subsystem beginning with the inception of the ARES project in 2002 through the submittal of the Mars Scout proposal in July 2006.